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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Graphics Card Roundup

NEW: Asus ROG Strix GTX 1070

Asus uses its ROG Strix brand to denote the high-end solutions in its portfolio. But where does the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 land in comparison to other companies with premium models?

Technical Specifications

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Exterior & Interfaces

The cooler cover is made of anthracite-colored matte plastic. This does look a bit boring, and it doesn't feel particularly inspiring in-hand, either. Perhaps the card's strengths lie elsewhere.

Weighing in at 1048 grams, Asus' board lands in the heavyweight category. You shouldn't have any trouble securing it into your case, though. A little more critical is its 30cm length. The card's height of 12.5cm is rather average, and its 3.5cm width is typical of all dual-slot designs. A total of three 90mm fans ensure the right amount of airflow and pressure cool the heat sink underneath.

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The back of the board is covered by a single-piece plate made of what looks like anodized aluminum. Asus calls this its Aura RGB Lighting Backplate, and it's adorned with a back-lit ROG logo. This backplate makes it necessary to plan for an extra 5mm of clearance behind the card, which may be relevant in multi-GPU configurations.

The card's top sports a Republic of Gamers label with LED background lighting and an eight-pin power connector.

A peek at the end and bottom of the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 reveals that its fins are oriented vertically. They won't allow any waste heat to exhaust out the back. Instead, hot air is pushed from the top and bottom, warming up other components in your case, along with your motherboard underneath. As such, this design decision is rather counterproductive.

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The slot plate features five display outputs, of which a maximum of four can be used simultaneously in a multi-monitor setup. In addition to one dual-link DVI-D connector, the bracket also hosts two HDMI 2.0b ports and two DisplayPort 1.4-capable interfaces. No doubt, this is a nod to Rift and Vive owners who need at least one HDMI output for their HMD. The rest of the slot plate is dotted with openings for airflow, though they're not functional due to Asus' fin design.

Board & Components

Asus uses its own circuit board for the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070. As far as we can tell, the company doesn't make any concessions in its layout or component choice. However, we also don't see any exclusive traits that'd set this configuration apart.

This card uses eight Samsung K4G80325FB-HC25 modules with a capacity of 8Gb (32x 256Mb). Each chip operates at voltages between 1.305 and 1.597V, depending on the selected clock frequency.

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But let's get back to the PCB and power supply. Asus employs an almost oversized 6+1-phase design, wherein the six GPU phases are supplied by uPI Group's uP9511 eight-phase buck controller. The GPU's voltage regulation is implemented using one IR3555 PowIRstage per phase. This chip includes a gate driver, control and synchronous MOSFETs, and a Schottky diode, saving a lot of board space.

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The memory's one phase is provided by a uP1666 2/1-phase synchronous buck controller. This phase takes quite a bit of load, so to help it out, Asus' card utilizes two UBIQ Semiconductor QM3054M6 N-channel MOSFETs in parallel on the high side and two QM3056M6 N-channel MOSFETs on the low side.

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Asus relies on its homegrown "Super Alloy Power" chokes, which the company says guarantee a particularly stable power supply. What Asus refers to as its SAP technology, MSI calls Military Class. In the end, both are meant to ensure increased durability and longer life expectancy for capacitors. Of course, there is no way for us to verify that claim in a review, but it certainly sounds good.

Asus' ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 uses an ITE 8915FN to monitor and control the current. Two familiar capacitors are installed right below the GPU to absorb and equalize voltage peaks.

Power Results

Before we look at power consumption, we should talk about the correlation between GPU Boost frequency and core voltage, which are so similar that we decided to put their graphs one on top of the other. This also shows that both curves drop as the GPU's temperature rises. Asus imposes a relatively low power target of approximately 170W, which in turn causes a relatively frenetic GPU Boost frequency that's primarily limited by the power consumption cap.

After a warm-up run through our variable gaming load, the card's GPU Boost clock rate settles at an average 1946 MHz, down from a starting point of 2015 MHz. Under a more constant load, it falls to an average of 1734 MHz.

The voltage measurements look similar. Readings around 1.062V drop to 1.025V as the board's frequency slides.

Combining the measured voltages and currents allows us to derive a total power consumption we can easily confirm with our instrumentation by taking readings at the card's power connectors.

As a result of restrictions imposed by Nvidia, whereby the lowest attainable frequencies are sacrificed to hit higher GPU Boost clock rates, the power consumption of many factory-overclocked cards is disproportionately high when they're idle. This one can only go as low as 291 MHz. The following table shows what impact that has on our measurements:

Idle 10W
Idle Multi-Monitor 12W
Blu-ray 12W
Browser Games 102-117W
Gaming (Metro Last Light 4K) 165W
Torture (FurMark) 166W

These charts go into more detail on power consumption at idle, during 4K gaming, and under the effects of our stress test. The graphs show how load is distributed between each voltage and supply rail, providing a bird's eye view of load variations and peaks.

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The 5.1A we measure provides a comfortable margin below the PCI-SIG's 5.5A maximum for a PCIe slot, especially if you're using this card on an older motherboard. Asus only feeds the memory and one GPU phase through the PCIe slot; the other five phases are powered through the auxiliary eight-pin connector.

Temperature Results

Asus' backplate doesn't play an active role in cooling the ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070. It's mostly aesthetic, though the plate does contribute to the card's structural rigidity.

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The ROG logo's back-lighting is achieved using a simple scattering film with an embedded LED. This diode is then plugged into a socket on the card's PCB.

A basic frame on the front cools most of the memory modules, though its shape could be better. While three of the ICs receive some extra cooling thanks to a thermal pad connecting them to the cooler's heat sink, there is one module that gets almost no cooling at all. 

The sink employs a classic heat pipe direct touch design using flattened and sanded pipes. There are four 8mm heat pipes and one 6mm pipe. To dissipate up to 170W, this configuration is more than sufficient.

Reaching temperatures of up to 144°F (62°C), Asus' ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 is still in the green. It's running cool enough to ensure the highest possible GPU Boost frequencies allowed by the low power target.

One look at an infrared image of the board reveals the impact of a well-designed cooler on voltage regulation circuitry. As a result of Asus' work, the PCB endures very little thermal stress.

The same holds true when we run our stress test and observe the temperature rising only marginally. This cooler is absolutely sufficient for what it's being asked to do.

Sound Results

Hysteresis is perfectly implemented, allowing the fan curve to leave a positive impression throughout its range. Even after an hour, the three fans spin at less than 1600 RPM.

Registering 37 dB(A) under full load, Asus' card lands in the middle of our pack for noise. But a closer analysis of the frequency spectrum sheds more light on where that reading's peaks appear. Although the three fans do generate some bearing noise, the sound is balanced well. At a purely subjective level, this is less annoying to listen to than the deeper tones produced by other cards with nominally lower dB(A) values.

There's also some electrical noise caused by the voltage converters. But it's in the high-frequency range that most enthusiasts won't be able to perceive.

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070

Performance
Quiet
Well-balanced cooling solution
Efficient
Display outputs ideal for VR
Price

Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070


MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Roundup


MORE: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 Roundup


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  • adamovera
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3283067/nvidia-geforce-gtx-1070-graphics-card-roundup.html
    Reply
  • TheRev MasterOne
    Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 and Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming pics are switched ! Did I win something? a job?
    Reply
  • eglass
    Disagree entirely about the 1070 being good value. It's the worst value in the 10-series lineup. $400 for a 1070 is objectively a bad value when $500 gets you into a 1080.
    Reply
  • adamovera
    19761809 said:
    Asus ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 and Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 G1 Gaming pics are switched ! Did I win something? a job?
    The filenames of the images are actually swapped as well, weird - fixed now, thanks!
    Reply
  • barryv88
    Are you guys serious!?? You recommend a 1070 card that costs $530 which isn't even available in the U.S? That sorta cash gets you a much quicker GTX 1080! The controversy on this site is just non stop. If your BEST CPU's list wasn't enough already...
    Reply
  • bloodroses
    I wonder how the Gigabyte 1070 mini compares to the other mini cards like the Zotac and MSI unit?
    Reply
  • adamovera
    19761907 said:
    Are you guys serious!?? You recommend a 1070 card that costs $530 which isn't even available in the U.S? That sorta cash gets you a much quicker GTX 1080! The controversy on this site is just non stop. If your BEST CPU's list wasn't enough already...
    This is a roundup of all the 1070's we've tested. The graphics card roundups originate with our German bureau and are re-posted in the UK, so they'll sometimes include EU-only products - I'm guessing they're appropriately priced to the competition in their intended markets.

    The Palit received the lowest level award - the Asus, the MSI, and one of the Gigabyte boards are better options.
    Reply
  • JackNaylorPE
    19761822 said:
    Disagree entirely about the 1070 being good value. It's the worst value in the 10-series lineup. $400 for a 1070 is objectively a bad value when $500 gets you into a 1080.

    The 1080 , like it's predcessors (780 and 980) has consistently been the red headed stepchild of the nVidia lineup. So much so that nVidia even intentionally nerfed the performance of the x70 series because its performance was so close to the x80.

    The 1080 has dropped in price because, sitting as it does between the 1080 Ti and the 1070... it doesn't exactly stand out. When the 780 Ti came out, the price of the $780 dropped $160 overnight, so much so that I immediately bought two of them and the two sets of game coupons knocked $360 off my XMas shoping list. At a net $650, it was a good buy.

    Using the 1070 FE as a reference and the relative performance data published by techpowerup for example.....Used MSI Gaming model since it is one model line where TPU reviewed all 3 cards

    The $404 MSI 1070 Gaming X is 104.2% as fast as the 1070 FE
    The $550 MSI 1080 Gaming X is 128.2% as fast as the 1070 FE
    The $740 MSI 1080 Ti Gaming X is 169.5% as fast as the 1070 FE

    So the cost per dollar for comparable quality designs is:

    MSI 1070 Gaming X = 104.2 / $404 = 0.258
    MSI 1080 Gaming X = 128.2 / $550 = 0.233
    MSI 1080 Ti Gaming X = 169.5 / $740 = 0.229

    Even at $500 .. the 1080 only comes in 2nd place at 0.256, so no, the better value argument doesn't hold, even assuming we were getting an equal quality card.

    Looked at other comparable as a means of comparison and they are for the most par equal or higher ....

    Strix at $420, $550 and $780
    AMP at $435, $534 and $750

    Now with any technology, eeking those last bits of performance out anything always comes at a increased cost. You more of a cost premium going from Gold to Platinum rating on a PSU than you do from Bronze to Silver of even Gold. It's simply another example of Law of Diminishing Returns. So we should expect to pay more per each performance gain with each incremental increase and that hold here. You'd expect that for each increase in performance the % increase in price per dollar would get bigger. But the x80 is quite an aberration.

    We get a whopping 10.7 drop of 0.025 from the 1070 to the 1080
    We get a rather teeny 1.7 drop of 0.004 from the 1080 to the 1080 Ti

    Therefore, logically.... you are paying a 10.7% cost penalty for the increased performance to move up to from the 1070 to 1080 ... whereas the cost penalty for the increased performance to move up to from the 1080 to 1080 Ti is only 1.7% This is why eacxh time the Ti has been introduced, 1080 sales have tanked.

    Another way t look at it...

    1070 => 1080 = 23% performance increase for $146 ROI = 15.8%
    1080 => 1080 Ti = 32% performance increase for $190 ROI = 16.8 %

    It's not a matter **if** you can get **a** 1080 at $500., it's whether you can get the one you want. How is it that the $550 models have more sales than the less expensive ones ? Some folks don't care about noise, some folks don't OC, some folks hope they will be able to get the full performance available to us **if** someone ever comes out with a BIOS editor. And yes, there will cards that are heavily discounted for any number of reasons ... low factory clock, noise or heat concerns , some have taken some hits from bad reviews or are discounted simply because sales are poor .... but if a card is selling well below the average price it is because it's not as well made or just isn't selling for real or imagined issues. (example being EVGA SC / FTW ACX designs are now fixed but but EVGA still has a black eye from the earlier cooler problems and if buying EVGA, peeps want iCX. Finally, the 1080 bears the burden of being compared with the 780 and 980 whicc again got lost between the higher / lower cards.

    Given the above ROI numbers, I am surprised that all the 1080s have not dropped below $500. But to my eyes, the `080 only starts to make sense when the cost is below $520 and **the ones I'd buy** just aren't there yet

    Reply
  • Adroid
    Yea I refuse to buy a 1070 because they are overpriced, period. I almost bought a 1080 but judging from the performance difference it simply wasn't worth it, either. There is not much a 1080 will do that a 1070 won't. What I mean is - a 1060 will run 1080p fine. With that in mind, a 1080 gives very marginal benefit at 2k, and neither one will run 4k smoothly - so what's the point.

    If the 1080 was a 350$ card, I might have bit, but as it stands now I'll be waiting for the 1080ti to drop a bit, which can run most games in 2k over 120fps - and justifying an upgrade from a GTX 700 series card. I'm not going to pay over $400 for a card that won't smoke my GTX 770... I can play all games on moderate settings now, so I want ultra settings at 2k that make use of a 144hz monitor - or bust.
    Reply
  • tyr8338
    I`m using gigabyte 2 fan 1070 for over a year now and it`s really good, it`s good overclocker and is running at 1974 mhz overclock 24/7 and 8600 on ram, probably it would be able to go even higher but it`s fine for me :) It`s quiet but at around 50% fan speed it produces some strange vibration sound sometimes, it dosn`t bother me all that much tbh but it can be a little annoying.
    Reply